Using a Night Splint for Heel Pain

For this patient, she has chronic heel pain, so we’re going to dispense a night splint for her. Interesting things about night splints, is what they’re supposed to do is just put a gentle stretch on the ligament that’s causing the heel pain, the plantar fasciitis. By itself, in studies it works about 65% of the time without doing anything else, so it’s a pretty effective treatment for heel pain and we use it quite frequently.

This device, how you put this one on is first of all, we fit the forefoot. We leave the top unstrapped but we make the forefoot kind of snug – we use the straps to kind of grip the forefoot. Then, we have the patient bring their toes all the way up as far as they can – toes to nose. Then we adjust the posterior strap. The posterior strap is to hold the ankle at 90 degrees, and right here we have a little scale on this device. This scale, this is an adjustable strap so you can pull it up a little higher, or you can put it down a little lower, all the way to minimum. But we recommend most people start at 90. The reason that we don’t start with it any higher is because what happens is it becomes uncomfortable and they’ll take it off after a short period of time. What we want them to do is wear it all night if they can, with a nice easy, gentle stretch.

To take it on and off, we don’t re-adjust the Velcro, because the Velcro gets loose and doesn’t work anymore. So we just take it off like a cowboy boot. Now, to put it on, it’s the same way. We put it on like a cowboy boot, just slide it on to the foot and pull the ankle straps up and then off to bed. We recommend sometimes that the patient use a pillow between their legs if they sleep on their sides if this bothers their foot. If you use a pillow it makes it a little more comfortable. That also is a little tip for back pain – if you use a pillow between your knees, a lot of times that will help your back pain. Other things that are interesting about this device is you can walk on it. It’s got some little sticky pads here so you won’t slip. Or, you can just take it off if you have to get up at night to use the restroom, just take it off. If you come back, and you’re tired of it, don’t wear it. That’s okay. Wearing it for 3 or 4 hours is good enough, but 8 is better.

This is a very handy device that we use for a lot of our patients for heel pain, and we recommend it highly here at the Next Step Foot and Ankle Clinic. Thanks for watching!”